Visitor, Hospital and Cold, Wet Days.

Yogi and Benji on the Garden Swing

Well I survived the week and all the questions and on Monday I had the stitches removed. Next week we should have the report back from  Pathology and I will be a lot happier once that’s in. Overall, however, it has been a fairly busy week – apart from being cold, miserable and wet.  One of our friends has  suspected cancer in his liver and he and his wife are currently down in Adelaide for a biopsy. Annabell and I are looking after Yogi, their dog. They left on Monday and should be back tomorrow (Wednesday) Generally I am  happy to take Yogi and this time has been no exception, however I have not had a lot of sleep since Yogi is getting older, misses his people more and cries most of the night. He’s alright during the day, nights are not so good. He and Benji get on well except when Yogi forgets his place in the scheme of things and tries to take over the spot in the bed (next to me) that Benji occupies. Usually I have to intervene only once.   Anyway, this is the husband of the lady who picks up Annabell for the coffee evenings and morning. She, herself, has been unwell so I have been filling in for her and doing the taxi thing. Annabell herself is well, so that’s always good.

We still have Yogi – I think he is going home today (Friday) sometime, so instead of two days  ( Monday night & Tuesday night) we have had him for five. The reason for the extra days was simply that  the results at Adelaide were not so good and it has taken them a few days to come to terms with what has to happen now. Jim has Cancer of the Liver, which is not so great. I suggested to Annabell that we offer to keep Yogi over the weekend but, it would probably better for Jim if he has his dog with him. I know I would. But, Yogi has actually settled down these last couple of nights and slept through the night. Jim is now just waiting on the Royal Adelaide Hospital and the Surgeon being free and then he will be down to Adelaide again. We will most probably look after Yogi while they are down in Adelaide and I expect for a little while once they come back – as Jim recovers. That’s not a problem – well not for us humans but it is a little bit of a problem for Yogi. He was a rescue dog and as far as we know he was shunted about the place, so he has a thing about getting put in a car. I discovered this when I took them both to the Wetlands last time he was here and he whimpered the whole time he was in the car.

Benji and The WaWa

It has been a year today since Sooah and her husband came back and collected Kongsoon (The WaWa) She has been back once for a brief visit and the WaWa was looking  well. Yes she she was a handful at times, but overall she was a lovable little character.  I think of her often and I miss her – don’t think Benji does though.

We had some high winds and rain over the State – well, Adelaide and the lower Peninsula.  The storms passed beneath us and although it was a tad breezy and did rain  a fair bit, it was nothing like the storm damage in Adelaide and surrounding areas.  Mostly the storms and the like miss us. They come across the Great Australian Bight and cross the Eyre Peninsula beneath us.  So really it’s not too bad. Yes it’s cold but we don’t get the storms that Adelaide gets. The other side of that is that it gets a whole lot hotter here in summer than it does in Adelaide.

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So begins another year.

On Thursday (28th.)  I took a trip down to Adelaide. I did not  think driving down and back was a great idea so I took the coach down – well, yes, good and bad. The good was that I arrived

Pipes and Drums for New Year

there stress free  however the bad was sitting for so long my knee froze and I had difficulty walking for a bit. Mind you, I get the same sitting at the computer for too long. I really must get this attended to sooner rather than later.  Part of the reason for going to Adelaide was to get Annabell’s new phone sorted out. We do not have an Optus Shop in town – we have an Optus reseller, which is not quite the same thing. They will sell phones and accessories and create contrtacts, but they  are not authorised to do repairs, these things have to be done at an Official Optus Shop, with trained staff and  resources. If your mobile ( cell) phone breaks down, you can take it to the place here and they will send it off to Adelaide for repair. From here the nearest Optus Shop is either Adelaide or Port Lincoln – Port Lincoln, well if you are going to travel that distance you might as well go to Adelaide and have the benefit of all the other shops.

On Wednesday, as some of you may know, we had a visit from Sooah, her husband and The WaWa. Benji was not happy – not at all. I think it was a question of “Just when you thought it

My friends will save me

was safe to….” However, it was a short visit and absence has certainly not made the heart grow any fonder as far as Benji is concerned. Still it was fair karma for what he did to me causing the word “Adoption” to enter my head.  Well, I was singing, and he – my associate and companion –  got up out of his bed and left the room. I mean, that’s a bit harsh, don’t you think??  I was not all that impressed.  Anyway it was lovely to see Sooah and her family again – even the WaWa – and she was looking good –   ( the WaWa that is ) still agro,  but looking well.  And I did manage to get a cuddle from her and she perched on my shoulder and  neck. I could suggest she was looking for a good spot on my neck to sink her pointed teeth into, but that’s a bit on the mean side  :o)

Benji’s “Friend”

Annabell bought me a set of six  Bohemian Crystal Wine Glasses for Christmas and as we had Christmas Lunch and Dinner with my son, his family and all the family, at Andrew’s House, I never really had the opportunity to use them. I certainly will tonight and the wine will be single malt, 18 years old, made in Tain, Scotland.

Overall New Year here was fairly quiet. Annabell went to bed about 12:30  John James and I  sat chatting until about 01:30. At 6am I got up and took Benji out for his walk.  The days since New Year’s Eve have been busy in that one of our ladies ( in a nursing home) passed away and her funeral is on Thursday. I have had a busy few days getting  things ready for that  writing the Order of Service, printing, photocopy and collate. Well yes, not intensive work, but time consuming and a paper jam didn’t help. The family want to do a power point of highlights in their mother’s life  so I met the two sons and we set that up. The sad thing is that with all the new people in church today, most of the people who knew the lady, are gone.

All this stuff with Apple and the deliberate slowing down of iPhones,  I honestly can say that I have not noticed any difference in my iPhone and whilst I am not (like some) attached to my phone by an invisible umbilical cord, I do use it every day. One of my sons, for example, carries two phones around with him – his personal phone and the company phone, even at home when he is on call-out.

Well, hello there!

The temperature – apart from a couple of days – has not been too bad. Generally February is the hottest month, but  last year it was shown that the hottest month was Feb/April, so we’ll see this year. I really don’t have a lot of confidence in long term forecasts. I sometimes think they pull numbers out of a hat and use them. I was glad to see that the Kangeroos are starting to come back to the top area – and this is what can happen if you leave your gate open   :o)

Christmas

A dog and his toys

For those who have been watching, I finally managed to get a couple of hours sleep in the recliner, some of that sleep with a dog on my chest. By the time Annabell woke me it was almost 10am so I had about three hours sleep. Still, as they say in Australia – Better than a poke in the eye with a blunt stick. After the trauma of the night ( or should that be terror of the night) looked outside and saw a clear blue sky – barely a cloud and what was there was white and fluffy. Took Annabell shopping and paid the car  registration. We were going to start to lay food for Christmas Dinner but it is being held at the Son’s place. Annabell will bring salads, a Pavlova and a coleslaw- and yes it will be about 40c.  Just about finished all the presents and my oldest son thinks I’ve lost the plot. I’m so sorry, but I thought everyone has Christmas Presents under the tree from Santa to the dog. Annabell is already using her Christmas Gift. She wanted a new  computer chair so we went out and I bought her a new  chair. That’s what she picked, so that’s what she got – not that exact chair, of course, but pretty close – no point in just me picking it, I wont be using it.

The way things are at the moment gives the impression that we ( as a town) have turned the corner and that prosperity has arrived with the new Arrium owner. Part of the reason for this is that the shopping centre is festive, bright and cheerful and fulfilling its role as the largest shopping centre outside of Adelaide. However although we accept things as they are today, it is somewhat deceptive in that the empty shops are not new business that has taken up residence in town, but rather  what is called “pop-up shops” These are shops that open up, filling the empty places for a limited period. After Christmas and New Year are over they will close and leave and we will go back to being the largest shopping centre outside of Adelaide with 30% of the shops empty. The organization that owns the  shopping centre ( one of several) is PPI Management Funds based in Adelaide. I wonder how much is actually being done to attract business to the area. One of the places that features on their website as part of this  centre, is the large Radio Rentals showrooms. This was closed down and has been empty for the best part of three years and Dick Smith Electronics, went bankrupt and closed down about five years ago. Spotlight, another large area, is also closed and the original Cheap as Chips Variety Store, moved to another area several years ago and their old shop  (also a large area) is closed down and empty.  However having said that I do believe that we are about to turn the corner and  and engineer I know tells me that if only half of what GFG Alliance has said it will do is actually done, there will still be enough work for at least 10 – 12 years. Mr. Gupta, the new owner,  said in an interview recently that he has allocated over $1 Billion to develop and upgrade the mill and the surrounding region. We are still having shops close down and we hope the

I’m baack…..

exodus will reverse soon and people will start to return. However, three new shops have opened in the last month, with corresponding extra employment,  so it’s not all doom and gloom, but the problem is that the areas that are empty are big and very visible.

Benji’s Nightmare returns…

For the last few weeks I had been telling Benji that he had to behave because if he didn’t behave,  the WaWa would come and chastise him again. Well, he didn’t behave well enough for Santa – even although Santa left him new toys –  so today, the WaWa came – and not just any old WaWa but THE WaWa, Kongsoon herself – with her Staff, namely Sooah and her husband.  What a wonderful surprise that was to have them both here for a while. Most unexpected. Benji went straight to the room got one of his toys and sqeeked at her :o) then took off like a scalded cat – very much discretion  being the better part of valour. Soon as he came in, she went for him, so I put him in the room untill they left. It was the safest thing to do.

Road Trips, Lighthouse, and WaWa thoughts.

Just chillin’ Man..

For the last ten days or so I have been sick. It was brought home to me in no uncertain terms that I am not invincible and like everyone else, I can get laid down with the Flu. I have not had the Flu for a very long time and since I do eat a lot of fruit and veg – too many Oranges!! –  I figured I had built up a natural immunity. Yes, well, that clever idea went out the window. Actually, I felt so bad at one stage I thought of throwing myself out of the window, but seeing as how we don’t have a window that is more than two feel off the ground, it seemed like a wasted effort for no return – apart from which, it was raining again.

Benji has hardly been out and there have been a couple of accidents, but that’s ok, I know he has been a little  neglected due to my lack of attention, but we are almost back to normal so we can start getting out and about again. Not that he was abandoned since a lot of the time he jumped up and curled up on the bed beside me. I received notification that I have to be in Adelaide in a few weeks time and when I am down there I want to go and check out the new pet shop – well not a “pet” shop but rather a pet supply shop. It was only just opening last time I went down and I really didn’t get a lot of time to wander around but I did get a collapsible  silicon bowl that I can take with me and always have a water bowl that I can use when Benji and me are out and it’s a warm day and he needs a cool drink. I want to go back to that shop and have a good look around and see what they have in the way of accessories and toys.

The Lower Flinders Ranges from Matthew Flinders Lookout ( Arid Lands)
Warning Matthew Flinders Lookout

Tomorrow should be the Church Mini-Fete but due to illness it has had to be cancelled. I am supposed to be running a fundraising function for the Royal Flying Doctors next week, but that’s still a way off so we will see how things progress. There is no let up on this Flu Bug in South Australia.

This morning I picked up young John and we drove out to  Better Home Supplies, did some shopping for garden things and had lunch at the Arid Lands Botanic Gardens. The weather was warm and, sadly, just a tad too warm to have Benji sitting in the car whilst we went shopping – and,  of course,  no dogs allowed at the Arid Lands. It would have been a nice trip for him. If it’s a nice day tomorrow  I’ll take him for a

Benji at the lighthouse

run out to the lighthouse and then the beach.

I wanted to take him a bit further and perhaps go away for the day and to that end I  looked for “Pet Friendly” places in South Australia, particularly the Eyre Peninsula. I found one but their idea of “pet friendly”was to supply  a lockable  dog house that can be placed outside the accommodation. So, I can sit in the cool comfort of the accommodation whilst Benji stays outside in the heat in a dog kennel —— I don’t think so!!  We did take a run out to the lighthouse and had a good afternoon. Two very nice ladies approached Benji and made a fuss of him, rubs and ear scratches and, of course, he lapped it all up. They also asked a lot of questions about him. Photograph of him at the lighthouse, but he kind of tends to blend in with the surrounding stones. At least the WaWa stood out against the stones. I often wonder how the WaWa is and how she is settling in to her new environment. I miss her a bit but I do not think Benji does. I don’t even have an address for Sooah so I can’t find out. Anyway, perhaps the best thing is simply to let it go.

From the Breakwater down from the lighthouse area.

Elsa, the Ninja is celebrating her first Anniversary and we send her, Sam and the family our very best wishes.

Traffic Comments and Walking with WaWa

I think daddy set up this bed for me. Isn’t he kind..

A long weekend has just concluded and things will get back to normal. Anyone with any degree of intelligence, stays away from Adelaide at this time – unless there happens to be a specific reason for going – conference, Adele Concert, International Cricket Match, and so forth. Even at the best of time Adelaide traffic is heavy, but then as I keep saying, 15% of the land mass is occupied by 85% of the population – give or take the odd percentage and South Australia  is bigger than most European countries and bigger than Alaska. We are fortunate in that we do not

Oh that’s what these things do!?!

have the traffic problems experienced by other places – mind you there is only one other place in South Australia- Adelaide, so generally our drivers here in the north  are still largely courteous and considerate, although we do find with younger drivers that no one has really impressed on them what that lever on the right of the steering wheel is for. That’s the one that goes backwards and forwards and makes a strange clicking sound. Other drivers find the sound soothing,  strangely comforting  and just leave it on. Other than these little quirks, driving here is  good.  I find the drivers in Adelaide, rude and impatient and very intolerant – but then, I suppose that’s no different from any other major city.  However, the roads into Adelaide get so congested that it doesn’t take much to bring traffic to a halt and create a  major back-up. An event – whatever – and half the city is closed down. I’ve been caught up in that once. Never made that mistake again. On a long weekend like this everyman, woman and their dogs head north and the generally quiet Port Wakefield becomes a major bottleneck since all traffic – coming or going – has to pass through it. One slight problem and the traffic can be banked up either way for quite some distance.  But to compare our traffic to  the USA or any other major European City, is just plain silly. The entire population of South Australia would probably  fit into one of the Boroughs of New York.

Out last night

The family were here at the weekend and they were amazed at the changes that have taken place with the WaWa.  John came in and she started by barking at him then

Bit better – not much, but a bit

jumping at him, so I told him that she wanted him to pick her up. He was reluctant to do so, but then he bent down, put his hand under her and lifted her up into his arms. He was amazed at how she was. Andrew came in later and she did the same thing to him, barked then jumped at him and I told him to pick her up. Andrew thought it was a bit of a joke, but on  assurances from John and I he bent down and picked her up. She snuggled into his shoulder and he wandered about the house for the next half hour with the WaWa on  his shoulder. The boys just could not believe the changes in her in a week. I am very pleased that all our patience is starting to pay off and she is becoming what she really is – a friendly, lovable and playful little thing. First few days of our walks I carried her part of the way, now I don’t and she walks the whole distance. We generally walk within the bike lane. I pick up her leash and her tail is going fit to create a hurricane  I have to admit though in the early morning when I have Benji out on his own I don’t mind his stopping at every tree, bush and clump of grass  to have a sniff – it’s  the almost forever NCIS investigation of every blade of grass in that clump that gets me.

We are hearing from Sooah a bit more frequently now and she has responded several times to the photographs I put on line, which is very good and I am well pleased. I think she  must have been reading from the start and was upset by the fact that the initial behavior of her dog was causing me problems. There are still problems with Benji when they are in the house, but outside of the house they are more like Big Brother and Little (adopted) Sister and the play and walk well together. Something we need to work on. I have to say that the changes have been quite remarkable, but very welcome. Now if I could just get her to stop ambushing Benji ……………………….

 

Two days without rain – Joy!

We are somewhere over there.
We are somewhere over there.

In court this week, a teenager admitted that he had deliberately started fires in South Australia that could have had  catastrophic consequences. Judge was pleased that the lad took responsibility for his actions. His little arson adventure ( acting out his frustration with life)  caused the loss of bales of hay, damage to farm equipment and the destruction of a farm shed – all in – about $80,000 damage. But the judge said that she believed that he understood that he had been a naughty boy, and that he was really sorry – so she suspended his sentence.  You have to love South Australian  Justice.

I didn’t know the gun was loaded

And I’m so sorry my friend

I didn’t know the gun was loaded

And I’ll never, never do it again.
This last week has been Whyalla Pride Week, a week when people organize and take part in activities that showcase the town .  Saturday was the Day in the Park and the RFDS  Barbecue was

Part of the RFDS (Local) fundraising
Part of the RFDS (Local) fundraising

there. I was not on duty but  my son was and I did go down and see what was happening and have a slow wander around. I stayed for a little while and the weather was  not too bad – warm, sunny with a bit of a cool breeze. Just nice I thought for a walk along the beach with Benji, so I went home and picked him up. We drove to the beach, parked the car and I got out. It was freezing cold. The “light wind”of  Civic Park was blowing a bit harder here – and it was cold, coming in off the Gulf. I lasted about ten minutes without a jacket of any kind then gave up and got back into the car, strapped Benji back in and headed up the hill, sat in the car for a few moments before heading back home. Last night, suitably clothed, I took him out for a walk. I am still not good enough to do our full walk but I did not too badly and achieved 8697 steps – which is about 4.7klms. I have decided – depending on the weather – that I will take him walking in the mornings and try to get back to our walking routine. I think it will take me a bit to get back to our day routine. However, I did (confess time) become somewhat of a slave to the Fitbit and I have decided I will use it as a guide – not let it dominate things.

 

A day in the park
A day in the park

We have heard from Sooah and it is unlikely that she will be back in October as she had hoped. She and her husband now have to find a sponsor and employment. Given that South Australia has the highest unemployment rate in Australia and things have deteriorated since she left in late April, this could prove to be a problem. Only this week a major  Building Company ( Homestead Homes/ Ashford Homes in Victoria) has collapsed leaving thousands in strife – contractors, people who are now left with partly constructed houses and young couples who paid a deposit have lost everything. Partly constructed houses are covered by insurance, but builders are very reluctant to take over another builders work. Why?? Well as one builder explained, ” I have  to guarantee the work when I hand it over and I do not know what is underneath the concrete, I do not know what is behind the walls, my people didn’t do the plumbing or the electrical work – it’s all very messy.” There are approximately 207  properties involved.

However, Sooah and her husband will not be back this year so Annabell and I are going to trap the feral WaWa, get her into a crate and up to the

Spot the WaWa
Spot the WaWa

vet. I  want her examined and I want her measured up for what probably will be a 00 muzzle – not because she is a vicious dog, but we want her to stop attacking Benji. ( she NEEDS a bath and I value my fingers!) Also I want advice on what we can do about this almost constant barking – which is driving Annabell crazy. Benji lives with me and  generally he is with me in my room. He  can’t have the run of the house as he did before because she will attack him.  Yes Benji has turned on her a few times but it’s not made any difference – she just comes right back again. As someone said, Benji is paying the price for my promise. Overall,   the barking and the problems

with Benji aside, the WaWa is a funny, friendly little dog that loves playing with her toys and chasing a ball. I don’t want her to be really curtailed but I need to stop her attacking Benji if she has to stay here for an indefinite period.

Getting it from both ends!

Just Because
Just Because

The operation went quite well. I say quite well because things didn’t go according to plan. Apparently there was a lot more damage than they thought and I ended up with a lot more done than had been intended. They discovered several bone fragments there  so all of that had to be repaired. I am in bed at home and having difficulty walking – although today I did take Benji for a walk. With my sticks we walked down the hallway into the sitting room, and then back to my bedroom. I was fair exhausted. I have given instructions to Annabell that if I ever again feel that I would like the fairly mild pain to be replaced by an operation and a pain that required pain killers and the inability to walk for a time – I just want her to introduce my brain to a 4 x 2. She says a few days and the pain will go and the need for sticks will  be gone and I can get back to being normal again – well what passes as normal for me.  Benji sits down at the end of the bed keeping guard – making sure that WaWa or her mistress don’t attack me. Annabell brings in the ice pack – in a towel – and Benji sits up and moves towards her. I grab him. Oh he doesn’t harm her or even growl,  he just uses his snout to push her away from me.

 

The entrance to the new part of the hospital
The entrance to the new part of the hospital

The upgraded hospital opened last year at a cost of $60 million. In contrast, the Adelaide Money Pit AKA The New Royal Adelaide Hospital, is the third most expensive building on the planet and costing over $2.5 Billion not even considering the massive delays, problems, cost blowouts and  now probably wont be opened until  sometime next year – September/October is being touted. I have nothing but praise for our people and our hospital. Calvary  have begun construction of a new state-of-the art private hospital in Adelaide and the joke is that the new Calvary Hospital will probably be up and running before the new RAH is opened. The Premier didn’t think that comment was funny.

Easy had a birthday last week and both Benji and I wished him well. I have no idea when Benji’s birthday is but I have decided that his birthday will be the day I  brought him home from Mount Gambier to his new family – the day I adopted him. Seems to me that this is as good a day as any.As I said I missed Easy’s birthday but  Benji and the WaWa hope to be able to attend the  Tea Pawty that Christmas in holding next week.  By the looks of things this is going to be a case of previous years when I had both male and female dogs – Chienne and the Man – this time I think it’s going to be Benji and the WaWa. I would really like  Sooah to come back but with the state of the economy here in South Australia, I really don’t see it happening – which is quite sad really, she is a lovely young lady. After discussions with Annabell we decided that we really cannot do anything with the WaWa until after October because there is still the chance that Sooah may return. After that we will start the process of changing ownership.

Monday and after a quiet weekend the first of the bandages  will come off tomorrow. Provided everything is ok we will remove the second bandage when Annabell comes back from her Coffee Morning on Wednesday. I think the removal of the outer bandages should allow me a greater degree of flexibility and movement and I am quite looking forward to that.Annabell is out for two days at her coffee evening and morning so I have a little time to myself – well me and the dogs, but that’s cool.  You know, I think medical professionals can be very thoughtless at times. Here I am recovering from knee surgery and my cardiologist decided that this would be a really good time for me to wear a heart monitor for 24 hours – a heart monitor at one end, recovering from a knee operation at the other – sleep has not come easy these last few days   :o)  – Yes, you have to smile!!  It’s either that or sneak off and cry in some corner..